The Alhambra

We were in Granada for another reason besides skiing – a visit to the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and citadel set atop the slopes. It was the Moor’s last stance against the Spanish conquistadors, and in 1492, the latter finally chased the Moors away from the Spanish plains forever. But the Alhambra remains, and although many of it’s buildings were adapted and modified to the Spanish Renaissance architecture, one can still see the Arabic influences in the domed-shaped doorways, the shingles on the roof. In the palaces that we strolled through too, there were whole rooms with the elaborate window lattices with their intricate floral motifs.

We spent a good part of the morning and afternoon wandering about the vast grounds. The audio guide we had rented was an excellent guide, and it was peppered with excerpts from Washington Irvine’s travelogue, where he waxed lyrical about his lengthy stay amidst the beautiful ruins back in the 19th century.

In the evening, we ventured into the old city for more exploration. Here, we left behind the myriad of tapas bars and instead found rows and rows of tiny little teterias, or tea houses. Since dinner was still a ways to go (restaurants don’t open till past 8!), we ducked into one for a spot of tea, and to smoke some hookah.

After, we hiked up to the top of the old city, to an open plaza and joined the dozens of tourists sitting on the low wall on the northern most side of the plaza. The sun was just setting, and we were afforded a gorgeous view of the Alhambra bathed in the soft golden light. While the boys merrily started to snap pictures, I pulled out my sketchbook, and contended to draw.

And in the late evening, we embarked on our tapas bar hop. What fun! We had a great kicked out of wandering into different tapas joints, and ordering some drinks – wine, beer, or sangria. The drinks were cheap, only a couple euros per glass, and they came with a surprise dish of tapas. We couldn’t choose what we wanted, but that was part of the fun! At Los Diamantes, a popular local hole in the war, we got plates of fried chicken nuggets, freshly broiled prawns, calamari, sauteed mushrooms. At others, we had shrimp tempura, tortilla, iberico ham, blood sausages stuffed with rice, croquettes… What a feast. We were all a little tipsy by the end of the evening, having visited six bars and downed more than six drinks. 🙂


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